Change Font Size

Chris G Shipping

50 or 60 years ago, the waters of the Thames Estuary were busy with coastal shipping - barges, coasters and larger ships, but today less a handful of vessels trade here.

While making content for my Shipping TV website, I was lucky enough to be invited aboard the sand-barge Mark Prior in April 2015 for a round trip from Fingringhoe on the River Colne (near Colchester, Essex) to Deptford Creek, London, and back, over a 24 hour period.

In this 4-part series (2 parts this week and 2 parts next week), join me aboard Mark Prior as she sails from the riverside wharf, and heads south along the Essex coast. We'll look at the barge, meet her captain and the mate - there are only the two of them aboard - and discover how this trade works.


In Part 1 of this 4-part series, we cast off from the wharf at Fingringhoe, and sail down the River Colne towards the North Sea. We also meet the Skipper, Captain Peter Barc, and the mate, "Fraggle" - and hear a little about our good ship.


In Part 2, we're sailing past the Essex shore to Southend, enjoying the surprisingly quiet and sunny April weather. We also hear from the skipper, who remembers the days when empty stretches of river were important anchorages, crammed with shipping waiting for a berth alongside the quay.

Join us aboard again next week for the 2 final parts of this trip, as we sail past all the landmarks of the River Thames.

Part 2 can be found here.

Meet The Author...
Chris Gosling
Who Am I?

Born what sometimes seems like a long time ago, I had a conventional career in sales and marketing, with a bit of freelance writing on the side, and a five year diversion as a marketing consultant.

At the tender age of 51, while working as a sales manager, I had a small heart attack which changed my life . . for the surprisingly better.

After recovering from the heart attack and a divorce, and returning to work, I decided this wasn't the life - so I quit and went sailing for a year, celebrating my 54th birthday in a nice bar beside a french canal! After returning to the UK, I started making TV programmes about caravanning and boating, and made about 180 of these in five years before retiring again.

I now make videos about life as I enjoy it, ships and shipping, and I do a little news reporting online around my home town of Felixstowe. In a return to my youth, when I spent six months on a pirate radio station, I now also produce and present a weekly news show on community radio.

More From This Author...

Comment With Facebook